Monasteries, Lace and Bees


We wandered up to the Library hotel for breakfast and then headed out on a sightseeing day.  Our first stop was the Monastery of Ayios Minas, a very beautiful and tranquil place perhaps about 10 miles from Kalavasos.  In fact it has been a nunnery since 1965.  We hoped to see icon painting but all was quiet.  The flowers were beautiful and the little church was very ornate.

We headed on again to Lefkara but we stopped on the way at the Kato Drys Bee and Embroidery Museum.  This is a small place, easily overlooked, but so very much worth a visit.  The museum is centred in a traditional stone house surrounded by a wonderful garden.  The home is still very much a centre of traditional crafts: honey making; wine making; lace and furniture creation.  The museum rooms preserve a way of life going back 100 years and the man who takes you around makes it come to life with his family memories.  This has been his home since childhood and he is an inspirational guide who perfectly embodies the contentment and serenity of a self sufficient, country life.  Very, very interesting and I highly recommend a visit if you are in Cyprus.  It cost 2 euro each and was worth 5 times that price.

After our visit there, we continued into Lefkara, the centre of lace making in the area.  It was enormously touristy.  I mean, soooo many lace shops, mostly selling products that are probably not locally made.  And a very hard sell.  We walked through the old village centre, dodging the sales pitch.  Had coffees and a rest.

On to the Monastery of Stavrovouni.  This is a traditional monastery perched atop a mountain with incredible views of the plains in every direction.  We wound our way up the mountain on the switchback road.  We got to the top but could not enter as it is not open to women, which we knew.  We did enjoy the views though.

By the time we had taken our photos, we were starving and wended our way down and took the old road back towards Kavalasos, rather than the motorway.  After a couple of miles we came across a rural restaurant and stopped there.  It was one of those places that looked very low key but delivered deliciousness.  I went for moussaka which I shared with Bob along with a traditional salad sprinkled with feta.  All very yum.

It’s very different in this part of Cyprus from the north.  Much more developed, much more Greek.  The landscape is different: white, chalky hills, scrubland…. rocky…. not as green as the north, although perhaps more trees are beginning to appear than there were a few years ago.  The villages are very traditional, more centred, historical.  The coast is very much more commercial.  It could be Spain to be honest.  When we come south, I much prefer to avoid the coast and stick to the inland villages and the mountains.  That’s where you find the true Cyprus that still exists.

Got back to Kavalasos at around 4 and turned in for a rest.  John and Sue came down to our cottage at 630 and we opened a bottle of Laurent Perrier champagne (courtesy of John and Sue and a bit of tradition with us) and we had some nibbles, sitting out by the pool.  Then we wandered up to the square and ate at the central café.  Very, very popular this year and justly so.  The food was excellent and the service was superb.  So much better than the restaurant last night.  We started with bread, dips, olives and a fabulous salad.  Then John, Bob and I had lamb chops with chips, Sue had shevlaki sausages with chips.  All divine.  Washed down with a jug of village white wine and another half jug of red.  Then a couple of coffees.  The whole lot for 4 of us cost about 58 euro.  Its a lot more than in the north but still very good value.

Back to our cottage and caught up with Strictly.  Loved the Backstreet Boys.